Iran Focus: London, Apr. 06 Britains Ministry of Defence issued a statement on behalf of 15 of its marines and sailors who arrived in London on Thursday following nearly two weeks of captivity in Iran. Iran Focus
London, Apr. 06 Britains Ministry of Defence issued a statement on behalf of 15 of its marines and sailors who arrived in London on Thursday following nearly two weeks of captivity in Iran.
The eight sailors and seven marines were detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards on March 23. On arrival at Londons Heathrow Airport, they were taken by helicopter to a Royal Marine base Chivenor in Devon, where they were reunited with their families and underwent a debriefing and decompression.
On their arrival at Chivenor the personnel issued the following statement:
“It goes without saying that we are all extremely happy to be back home in the UK and reunited with our loved ones. Touching down at Heathrow this morning was, for all of us, a dream come true, and the welcome home we have enjoyed today is one none of us will forget.
“The past two weeks have been very difficult. But by staying together as a team we kept our spirits up, drawing great comfort from the knowledge that our loved ones would be waiting for us on our return to the UK.
“It is only now that we have learnt of the enormous public support we have all enjoyed in the UK, and wish to thank everyone for their thoughts, kind words and prayers. It means so much to us all.
“We all longed to be back with our loved ones, and now that we are home, we all very much look forward to spending time with them. Whilst we are extremely grateful for all the support we have had from the media, we would also ask for some space and privacy at this time.”
Lt Felix Carman added:
“On arrival at RMB Chivenor we were completely overwhelmed by the wave of good will we received. The support from the media, the MoD and especially our families was incredible and we are just delighted to back in the UK.”
“Operator Mechanic Arthur Batchelor said:
“I am delighted to be back home and reunited with my sister and god mother. We started this thing together as a team and I am glad that we have all been reunited with our families as a team. Im looking forward to spending time with my family.”
Operator Mechanic Nathan Summers said:
“It is only now that we are home that we have found out just how much support we have had, and still have. Its a great relief to be back with friends and family.”
Marine Adam Sperry said:
“I am ecstatic to be back and cant wait to get home. I feel like I have a lot of people to see before I get back to my unit after leave. Its great to see all the positive support that we have had.”
Chief of the Naval Staff, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said:
“I am delighted to be able to welcome back to the UK all fifteen of our sailors and marines and am especially pleased that their families can be here today. While I am naturally extremely pleased that this unfortunate situation has been resolved peacefully and diplomatically, I would like to offer my condolences and sympathy to the families of those who have given their lives on operations and have not been able to enjoy the type of homecoming we see today.
“I think in particular of the families of the two sailors killed in HMS Tireless recently and the families of the six soldiers who have died in Iraq in the last week.
“While we should all join in celebrating the safe return of the Cornwall fifteen today, we must also remember all our other servicemen and women who continue to be on operations around the world and who continue to put their lives on the line for their country.”
Britains Ministry of Defence for the first time confirmed the names of the 15 personnel involved. They were:
Captain Christopher Air RM
Lieutenant Felix Carman RN
Chief Petty Officer Gavin Cavendish
Acting Sergeant Dean Harris
Leading Seaman Christopher Coe
Acting Leading Seaman Faye Turney
Lance Corporal Mark Banks
Marine Paul Barton
Able Seaman Andrew Henderson
Marine Adam Sperry
Marine Joe Tindell
Marine Daniel Masterton
Able Seaman Simon Massey
Able Seaman Arthur Batchelor
Able Seaman Nathan Summers